Empowering Women in Construction: Insights from NAWIC’s Annual Conference

August 25, 2023
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Deltek was a proud sponsor of the highly anticipated National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) Annual Conference 2023 recently taking place in Portland, Oregon, leaving attendees inspired and empowered. This annual event, dedicated to fostering women's leadership and progress in the construction industry, brought together industry professionals, leaders and enthusiasts from across the US.

The multi-day event discussed key topics for women in the construction industry. Deltek’s own Maribel Scarnecchia spoke about Work in Progress reporting and what it means for businesses, while other speakers talked about transforming employees through effective coaching, gaining work-life balance through technology and using cultural intelligence to boost productivity and diversity.

The overall theme of this conference, Many Paths One Mission, stressed the importance of recruiting, hiring and retaining women and minorities in the construction industry. Sessions focused on fostering diversity and inclusion, sharing new perspectives in the workforce and bringing unique skill sets that contribute to the overall quality and precision of construction projects.

The Importance of Diversity in Construction

The importance of diversity in the construction industry cannot be overstated, as it plays a pivotal role in shaping the sector's success, resilience and innovation. A diverse workforce brings together individuals from varying backgrounds, cultures, genders and perspectives, creating a dynamic environment that fuels creativity and fosters innovative thinking. This diversity of thought leads to more robust problem-solving and a broader range of potential solutions, enabling construction teams to address challenges with greater efficiency and effectiveness. Also, with the right staff, companies can go after more government contracts that have a minority participation goal.

Furthermore, diversity drives inclusivity and promotes a welcoming workplace culture that attracts and retains top talent. By embracing individuals from different walks of life, the construction industry can break down traditional barriers and eliminate biases that might hinder collaboration and progress. A culture of inclusivity nurtures an environment where all team members feel valued, respected and empowered to contribute their best work. Diversity also positions the construction industry to better meet the needs of an evolving world. As urbanization, technological advancements and sustainability concerns reshape the industry's landscape, a diverse workforce is better equipped to adapt and innovate in response to these changing demands. In essence, diversity isn't just a matter of equality; it's a strategic imperative that drives progress, resilience and long-term success in the construction sector.

The Transformative Impact of Women on Construction Sites

The construction industry has long been dominated by men, with women comprising only 14% of the workforce. However, times are changing, and the push to hire more women in construction is gaining momentum. As the industry evolves, it is crucial to recognize the immense benefits of a diverse workforce and take proactive steps to encourage and support the inclusion of women in construction roles.

At the annual NAWIC conference, we learned that there is an increasing number of skilled tradeswomen who are making their mark on job sites around the world. These women bring a unique set of skills, perspectives and qualities that are enhancing the industry in remarkable ways. Below are seven benefits that tradeswomen bring to construction job sites.

  1. Diverse Skill Sets and Expertise
    Tradeswomen possess a wide range of skills that add depth and variety to the construction team. From carpentry and electrical work to plumbing and masonry, their expertise contributes to a well-rounded workforce capable of tackling complex projects from different angles. The blending of diverse skill sets often results in more efficient problem-solving and innovative solutions.
  2. Enhanced Communication and Collaboration
    Women tend to bring exceptional communication and interpersonal skills to the job site. Effective communication is essential in construction, where teams must work seamlessly to execute plans accurately. Tradeswomen often excel in fostering open dialogue, resolving conflicts, and facilitating collaboration, leading to smoother operations and reduced misunderstandings.
  3. Attention to Detail and Precision
    The meticulous nature of many construction tasks demands a high level of attention to detail and precision. Tradeswomen often excel in these areas, contributing to the quality of work and the overall integrity of the project. Their commitment to accuracy can lead to fewer errors, rework and delays, ultimately saving time and resources.
  4. Innovation and Problem-Solving

    Diverse perspectives drive innovation, and tradeswomen bring fresh viewpoints to the construction table. Their unique experiences can lead to the discovery of innovative techniques, materials and approaches that might otherwise go unnoticed. By embracing new ideas, construction job sites become hubs of creativity, fostering a culture of continuous improvement.

  5. Safe and Inclusive Work Environments
    Tradeswomen play a crucial role in creating safer and more inclusive work environments. Their presence challenges traditional stereotypes and norms, promoting a culture of respect and professionalism. As a result, job sites become places where everyone can thrive, free from harassment and discrimination, leading to increased job satisfaction and retention.
  6. Inspiration and Role Modeling
    Tradeswomen serve as powerful role models for aspiring professionals, both male and female, who are considering a career in the construction industry. Their accomplishments inspire the next generation and help break down barriers that may have deterred women from entering the field. By paving the way, tradeswomen contribute to a more diverse and dynamic industry.
  7. Increased Productivity and Efficiency
    The collaborative and detail-oriented approach of tradeswomen can lead to increased productivity and efficiency on construction job sites. Whether it's optimizing work processes, streamlining communication or identifying opportunities for improvement, their contributions translate into tangible benefits for the entire team.

From insightful discussions on breaking gender barriers to inspiring success stories of tradeswomen, the conference emphasized the greater potential of a diverse and inclusive workforce. The event served as a reminder that by embracing women's skills, perspectives and leadership, the construction industry can not only overcome challenges but also thrive in an ever-evolving landscape.


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